KT columnist and Dubai resident Meronk makes strong start to HERO Dubai Desert Classic

‘A nice opening 68 is where I want to be’, says the Polish golfer who lives in the Dubai Marina

By Adrian Meronk

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Adrian Meronk at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic on Thursday. -  Kt photo by Shihab.
Adrian Meronk at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic on Thursday. - Kt photo by Shihab.

Published: Thu 18 Jan 2024, 10:52 PM

I believe I have made a nice start to the tournament with an opening round of four-under 68.

That leaves me currently in tied fifth, just one shot behind the quartet of leaders.

Not bad at all for the first day in office at the Emirates Golf Club.

I am writing this for Khaleej Times after doing five interviews following my finish this morning, which I take as a compliment. If I am not being sought out by the media, I perceive that perhaps I am not that relevant.

But my game is good, I am currently 50th in the new Official World Golf Ranking and my target for 2024 is to improve on this, hence my commitment to play on the PGA. I will be flying out of Dubai International Airport on Monday for a decent run of tournaments.

I am surprised that my form over the last 14 months has not moved me further up the OWGR Ranking, but that is out of my control and I can only work on what I can control, which is to play my best every time I tee it up.

I am also currently 29th in this season’s Race to Dubai Rankings.

To be honest, I did not hit my best today, but my course management was excellent. That is arguably more satisfying than ever. It is when you hit your best with an all-around good game and do not score well, then there is a worry. Golf is a strange game.

Four birdies, including three on par fives, on my opening nine was a great start to be out in 33. Playing the par 5’s well on the Majlis is always a key to good scoring. The front nine, my back nine, is regarded as a stricter par at 35, and I matched that with two birdies and two bogeys.

It was nice to be paired with The 2023 Open champion Brian Harman (US), who is ninth in the OWGR and a pleasure to be allocated to a marquee group for TV and, again, it gives me additional confidence.

Harman, who is a left-hander, shot a 71, one under par while the other player in the group, England’s Dan Bradbury, who has one win to his name on the DP World Tour, shot a level par 72.

I sadly three putted the last which is always disappointing, but my thought process for today must be positive and not to dwell on that hiccup on my final hole – the ninth. The consolation is that hole nine was the hardest hole of the day, so I have not lost too much ground with that final hole bogey.

The wind is picking up after my morning round, with a similar weather forecast for Friday.

After my round, I went back to work and hit a few balls on the range to tidy up my game. I do not have my coach with me this week, so I will work things out myself.

I did a couple of chalet visits and other such commitments before I got to relax and perhaps then go to the beach and just chill.

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I am staying at Atlantis The Royal Dubai, a tournament sponsor this week, where I am having fun - it is a bit special.

On Friday I once again have Brian and Dan for company, ss wish me luck and speak to you after my second round.

Adrian Meronk (Poland) is a Dubai resident, 30 years old and a four-time winner on the DP


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